Samichlaus Classic Bier | Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg

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BA SCORE
89
very good
1,078 Reviews
Samichlaus Classic BierSamichlaus Classic Bier
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg
Austria | website

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
The once strongest beer in the world is back! Brewed only once a year on December 6. Samichlaus is aged for 10 months before bottling. This beer is perhaps the rarest in the world. Samichlaus may be aged for many years to come. Older vintages become more complex with a creamy warming finish. Serve with hardy robust dishes and desserts, particulary with chocolates, or as an after dinner drink by itself. Brewed under the exclusive licence of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann-Holding, Switzerland.

Added by UncleJimbo on 02-25-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,078
Ratings:
1,984
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
22.31%
 
 
Wants:
176
Gots:
382
For Trade:
22
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Reviews: 1,078 | Ratings: 1,984
Photo of Hop2it
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bright chestnut color with absolutely no head or lacing. A weak sweet aroma, and I really think I can smell the alcohol already. This baby has some lively carbonation, despite having no frothy top.

Mmmmm. That first taste was real smooth. The second is just as smooth and I'm getting some very light fruit influences which cannot be identified right off the bat. It is light bodied and sweet like the bottom of a powdered iced-tea mixture with too much sugar.

I can taste the alcohol as it gently seers my mouth, but I am actually surprised that it is not stronger. I am having the damnest time trying to identify what fruit flavor I'm picking up... Black cherries? Not really. Just alcohol and sweet.

Now, the story on the back says that it is brewed once a year in December, then aged 10 months before it is bottled (this was bottled in 2004). If my math is right then this is about 1.75 years old. I point this out because I believe its solitary confinement has given it plenty of time to reflect on how to harmonize its flavor profile. Nothing really stands out as the dominant flavor, exept the alcohol. So well balanced.

I'm an admitted hophead, and I can't single out a single bitter note to this brew. It's a dopplebock alright. I cannot stress enough that all I taste is alcohol and sweet, but this is just so damn smooth. It goes down deceptively easy. Be careful with this brew, I'm not even done and I feel like I've downed half a bottle of wine.

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Photo of Brian700
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a clear copper/brown with a nice sized head that kept a nice lid on my brew.

The aroma was of alcohol, dark fruit, molasses, candi sugar and there is the smell of juniper berries as well.

The flavor follows the nose pretty much in that there was a good alcohol presence, Juniper, mild darker fruit flavors such as figs, molasses (brown sugar).

The mouthfeel is great. full bodied with moderate carbonation.

This is a great beer. I'm going to hang on to the other 3 bottles of this and see how they age. I highly recommend this beer.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby red, with thin, yet large champagne bubbles that form a decent cap; large sugary patches are noted. Thin tan swirls round off the head. Alcohol, raisins, almonds, apple core and some caramel on the nose; so delightful I can imagine a Yankee Candle Samichlaus offering! Huge bodied, massive sugary based caramel malt body; toasty offerings combined with oak and port, plums, fresh baked banana bread. A little hop come-and-go tastings near the end. A mouthfeel that is not comparable; it’s like sipping a fine port or aged whiskey; the 14.double zero ABV is nearly non-existent, yet incorporates the flavors masterfully. A treasure indeed!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, I finally got around to reviewing the "new" Samichlaus from Castle Eggenberg, and I was disappointed.

It's still an excellent beer that's intensely rich, full and malty - but the alcohol shows where it didn't before, and it's lost alot of character.

The color is lighter than it used to be at Hurlimann (it's gone from a brownish red with reddish orange highlights to a deep-amber that borders on chestnut with orange and gold highlights); not that that really matters, but it does appear as if there are fewer kilned malts used in its production, and that comes through in the flavor. It's no longer superbly cerealish (like Ovaltine), lightly chocolatey, fudgey, and creamy coffee-like. And the cocoanut notes only arise in the late finish.

In fact, it's a totally different beer in my opinion; one that's much closer to their Urbock 23º. It's rich and full with some caramelish notes, and there's also more fruitiness to it, but it's lost the richness of the dark malts and the alcohol comes through too easily. Otherwise it's fairly similar in appearance, mouthfeel, and drinkability. Which leaves me with one major difference... the different vintages of Hurlimann's Samichlaus seemed to age a bit, softening and improving, but I don't give this one much hope other than a softening of its alcohol.

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Photo of BillyB
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $4.50 for an 11.2 oz bottle.

This is Malt Liquor but it's no Colt 45. Big Beer with a nice syrupy sweet aroma and quite drinkable.

Reddish orange color. No head at all.

Sweet syrupy liquer aroma and taste. Taste the sugar. Sharp little alcohol kick. Warming.

A great nightcap. Very drinkable.

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Photo of theo692
2.68/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle, things look promising. But the thin foam quickly disperses, leaving a very warm and carmel-colored beer looking almost naked. I have to admit that I didn't notice the alcohol content when I was in the store, but the almost cloying aroma hints that potency is the name of the game.

Taste was disappointing -- too sweet for me, which is saying something (I have drank my share of Lindemans and the venerable Pater Witkap). It is a heavy sweetness, too, like drinking syrup straight from the bottle (or, perhaps, the tree itself). Samichlaus drinks more like a port than a beer, which is all well and good if you want to drink port.

I tasted again with food (sausages, to get in the German spirit), but no help. I don' doubt the craft of the brewer, and I suspect that this taste was precisely what he/she had in mind, but it attacks my tastebuds like too much treacle.

I let the beer warm a bit, hoping that doing so would soften the flavor, but I didn't detect any difference.

Samichlaus reminds me of the Bush (Belgian, not from St. Louis) Xmas beer, which had a similar starting point. But where Bush Xmas immediately backed off the sweet and instead morphed into spice and walnut (as I recall), Samichlaus runs headlong at you. If sweet, high-alcohol beer is your thing, then you will find few in its league.

I must admit I was drawn in by the marketing on the bottle/4-pack ("brewed only once each year"), which was foolish of me. Shame on me for thinking higher-priced beers would be better than old standbys like Corsendonk or Chimay.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this one quite a few times, but I have never reviewed it, well I have notes here from a tap version of this a 1996 keg, that I had a glass from at Ludwigs in Philly a few months ago. Anyways, this is a dark cola brown brew with a fizzy khaki head. It is reminiscent of an eisbock in looks, but the aroma is much more deep, imho. Very complex with a huge maltiness as well as maple flavors, and maybe a hint of coffee, and dessert as well. Dark fruits and nuts also slip into the olfactory senses. Taste is doughy and malty with not much of an alcoholic feel except for a slight "port-like" tinge of booze at the finish. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous and the drinkability is good, but not excellent unless you are freakin' insane. a lovely tipple, aged keg seems similar to aged bottles, but super fresh this one is not too good. Give it at least 1 year...if not more.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pretty much average across the board for me. Very sugary tasting which is to be expected. It says dopplebock for the description on this website but it says malt liquor. Probably some importing / exporting type law that makes them state malt liquor. This is the finest malt liquor I've ever had :) though as it is complex and syrupy to the point of you can actually see the beer cling a bit to the glass. Super strong alcohol taste and aroma. There is a candy corn background and the alcohol is snappy and needed with such a thick brew. Without a doubt a nightcapper. this is a beer to have right before bed not necessarily because of the alcohol content but because it would ruin any beer you have after it because of its over the top rich syrup type content.

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Photo of freed
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this *on tap* at concordia ale house. Yeah - on tap. I had to check the beer list, then check to make sure it was the draft list, then check the spelling again. I sheepishly asked the waitress - "can I get it in a whole pint?" yes.

So the large tulip came with a thick amber liquid - red more opaque than most lagers. Just a faint head that really didn't last long at all.

The aroma had a bit of a sting to it, but it was also full of dried fruit and malt. Sweet, hot, and fruity.

The taste was initially confusing. Warmth from the alcohol, abundant (but far from overt) sweetness like raisins, robust maltiness, and a nutty crystal malt flavor.

As this beer warmed, it became more interesting and more potent. Despite it's gravity, it was very drinkable and enjoyable. On tap.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

07/10/05- Purchased at my local Bevmo for a $2.99 a piece closeout sale.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, dated year 2003. Poured into my La Chouffe tulip.

Appearance- Orangish color pour with a quickly evaporating foamy head. Leaves very minimal lace if any at all.

Smell- Not as much alcohol fumes as I have read in every review. Enough to notice though. Very sweet malt fumes as well.

Taste- Noticeable alcoholic base with a huge and I mean huge sweet malt taste. Lots of brown sugar flavor as well as some dried oranges soaked in alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Lower than normal carbonation with a sweet and thick syrupy coating.

Drinkability- One will be plenty...trust me! But that one will be oh so good.

***Version 2001

Alcohol still carries this beer with a brandy like flavor. Malt is super sweet and caramely, almost to the sickening point, bu doesn't cross the line. Still excellent flavor, but carries a high dose with more than one.

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Photo of RootedFool
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California, poured into a standard beer mug. 2004 vintage. Solid inch of off-white head rises on the pour, collapses quickly leaving no lace to mention. Body is bubbly, bright amber and gold highlights around the edges. Smell: Ginger snap cookies; alcohol soaked raisins, some prunes too; apple juice; nasal-widening alcohol fumes, but not unpleasant; finishes with a nice freshly baked breadiness. Taste: Thickly sweet upfront, wow; let me consider this. Opens very sweet, simple sugars, fruit juices (peach, apple, hint of pineapple; orange zest); with a very peppery underbelly. Alcohol warmth is a slow and strong, rolling around my throat and gut -- warm! The middle has some hint of hop action, but this brew is all about the powerful malts. You have to bow down to the beer gods when you imbibe this nectar. Unusual and unusually strong. Aftertaste is a nice pall of alcohol heat, and a lingering sweetness on the back of the palate. Mouthfeel: plenty carbonated (middling, you could say), a little sticky but not too heavy.

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Photo of Tim2000
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

330 mL brown bottle, 2004 edition.

Crystal clear dark amber brew with a tiny head that dies down to nothing in under a minute. A few stray bubbles rise through the viscous liquid.

Sweet, fruity, alcoholic aroma. Cognac, raisins and caramel all come to mind.

Thick and syrupy sweet. Intense caramel maltiness blends with hints of dates, sweet black cherries and raisins. Alcohol is very present, reminiscent of rum or cognac, although not harsh at all. Bitterness is subdued and hop character is indistinct. Pleasant lengthy sweet finish with some metallic notes and an alcoholic bite. Carbonation is very low but pricks the tongue a bit and adds life to this very heavy beer.

Excellent brew with a lot happening on the palate, but it has to lose points for drinkability, one bottle bringing me to my saturation point.

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Photo of MarkBlackout
1.15/5  rDev -71.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Nevermind what anyone tells you (or perhaps see for yourself if you feel like punishing yourself), Samichlaus is horrible.

This stuff is like nailpolish. I finished my half of the 12oz bottle, but I later regretted the decision as I horked out this "beer."

Just awful. Way too sweet and doesn't win me over the way plenty of other extreme, high-ABV brews have. Avoid.

edit, two years later: I haven't tried this again, nor do I want to. I wanted to add that before, and since trying Samichlaus, I have had many big beers of similar/greater strength. I love massive beers, but I can still remember what Samichlaus tasted like and it was damned terrible!

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Photo of goschool
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2004.

Pours a syrupy deep mohogany with a nice head that quicky perishes. The nose is mostly whisk(e)y, with hints of caramel and cherry. Again whisk(e)y dominates the taste, but vanilla, caramel and malts make their presence known. It's hard to miss the 14% abv in this one, so I don't see myself having more than one in a sitting, but it's a nice way to end the evening.

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Photo of amherstdrew
2.93/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

bottle poured into pint glass.

pours a medium amber with a tiny, almost non-existent head and visible carbonation.

nose: sweet, candied figs, plums, sucrose.

taste: this beer just doesn't do it for me. i want it to. i beg it to. but the alcohol is too high and too obvious. maybe in a few beers this one would be different, but for now i'll take my thomas hooker liberators any time i feel like a doppelbock. the sugar is too evident, the alcohol is too present and the finish isn't very enjoyable.

mouthfeel: not terrible. it feels like a doppelbock which is big and robust. it's the finish that is worst.

drinkibility: something's got to be tampered with, and i don't think time is the only trick.

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Photo of ypsifly
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Vintage 2004 11.2oz poured into a flute.

Bright amber with a small white head that falls to a thin ring in a few minutes.

Alcohol dominates the nose. There's something sweet underneath, but by this point my nostrils burn. Alcohol and candy. Unpleasant but above average because its different.

There's a quick note of malt when tasted, but it turns sweet, almost cloying, then its all alcohol. Boozy.

Light mouthfeel that is subdued by the burn. Not drinkable this fresh, but I'd like to try one with five years on it.

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Photo of ncbrewerbun
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour was a nice brown to amber with a decent head, especially given the alcohol level, which then laced the glass.

Malt -- sweet, a bit syrupy, and fruity (prune, dark cherry, raisin)

A complex mix of flavors with the sweet malt and fruitiness providing an inviting balance. More raisin in the flavor than I noticed in the aroma.

A full mouthfeel, yet my sample lacked good carbonation.

Overall a powerful must-try beer.

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Photo of asabreed
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

4-pack purchased for around $15. Vintage 2004. Figured I had to try it, and since the temptation of laying at least a couple down was in front of me, a purchase was surely in order.

Appearance: Just to say right out, hardly any head and any lacing. But considering this is 14%, the head and lacing wasn't the biggest thing on my mind, as I was looking for color, bubbles, and body. A ton of bubbles float from the bottom to the surface, and it's a pleasure to look at. Yellow / orange color, almost looking like champagne rather than a Doppelbock I suppose.

Smell: Alcohol up front, and damn is it strong, but also warming in an oddly palpable and welcoming way, almost like inhaling a high quality and strong liquer. What comes after the initial alcohol burst, though, is a strong brown sugar and raisins amalgam. You have to get in there and go at it for a while. Swirl it and dive in and keep doing it, as new aromas seem to open up. Caramel and slight toffee. Definitely sugars, almost candi sugar-like. Malts also, of course. It takes getting past the alcohol to do so, but it's rewarding.

Taste: Holy Christ. At first I was ready to cringe; the initial alchol blast, even for a big beer lover like me, was levelling, but that was for a millisecond. Therefore, it's almost like it never happened. The alcohol is dominant with the ABV%, yes, but goddamn this sucker is balanced. It's got a lot of malt and sugar at the forefront, though, so beware if you're a hophead. I guess I'd liken it to a strong barley wine at first -- DFH Olde School? -- but then the flavors, especially the malts and sugars, start to congeal into something fabulous. Toffee, caramel, raisins, brown sugar, with hardly any bitterness at all (only a faint and far lingering to subtly balance out the malts and sweetness). That is NOT to say it isn't balanced, though, because this goes down extraordinarily smooth, which was extremely impressive. Top notch.

Mouthfeel: It sticks to your teeth a bit because of the sugars, yes. And there's a slight burst of carbonation near the end of the swallow. But somehow it remains damn smooth the whole time, and it's baffling me how it's done. And I'd say the sugars and sweetness never really become cloying either. Fine indeed.

Drinkability: Thank god I bought a 4-pack. This guy's young, and at 14% it can be put in the cellar for a while. I was told, however, "You can definitely drink it now," by some folks who know their stuff. And they didn't lie. I can't wait to try these as the years progress. This is amazing stuff, and you should at least try a bottle for sure. But beware; if you're not a big beer lover and you can't tolerate high ABV beers, you may want to stay away. Otherwise, this is an experiment in greatness, and I'm glad I have a few left to carry me through future winters and celebratory nights.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.11/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle

Pours a crystal clear amber color with a nice off-whitish head. Retention and lacing are lousy.
Smell is syrupy sweet malt, caramel, fruits (dates, rasins). Sort of musty actually.
Taste is dark chocolate, caramel, some fruits (see above), syrupy sweet, WAY too sweet actually. Sweetness is followed by alcohol heat and a slight bit of spicy hops
Mouthfeel is kind of slick, and not very enjoyable.
Overall, I was expecting something a whole lot better from this beer. Perhaps if this had more than 2 years aging it would be better, but for me, this just isn't working. While not terrible, it's just not as good as I would have hoped it would be.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage. The color is a nice dark amber. Head is short and light brown. The aroma is very eisbock-like and is of rich, dark malts. Smells are of a dark fruit mix with a moderate alcohol aroma. The taste is rich and complex. Dark fruit tastes are all-over here and range from sweet to somewhat dry. An alcohol taste is noted and contributes to complexity. Drinkability is hampered by the 14% ABV and overall richness of Samichlaus. This is a very interesting brew, tastes more like an eisbock than a dopple and has an insane amount of malt flavor.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.27/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 edition, sampled April ’05.
Pours out clear amber with a short lived tan head.
Aroma is rich and fruity, port like, with apricots and prune, a little toffee in there too.
Flavor is sweet and port like also, plum, prune, apricot. alcohol very noticable, especialy as it warms up. can't drink more than one of these in a sitting.
It will be interesting to see how this one ages.

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Photo of ken3c
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours quickly with a sodapop-like head that dwindles fast. Lots of bubbles and very clear, also like soda-pop. Light amber in color.

Aroma is grape juice with alcohol. There is also a biscuitty malt smell.

Taste is also like grape juice with a firm malt backbone and a hoppy finish. The aftertaste is a little like honey and musk melon. This is complex and very tasty.

Feels a littly syrupy but not quite cloying. I also feel the alcohol burn, oh yes I do.

Will I have another tonight...no. Will I have another again...definately!

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Photo of Barraclou
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Vintage 2003, bottled in 10oz units.

Appearance: A wonderful dark amber / ruby red / brown (like a old port wine). No head, but some carbonation bubbles in the body.

Smell: This beer smells a mix of alcohol, nuts, grapes and malt.

Taste: The taste is exceptionnal. It is a vintage product and it is easy to see it. The taste is very complex with lots of sweetness and too much alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: It is not that bad at all, but it is not like drinking a more conventionnal beer. Good carbonation too, but strong alcohol presence too.

Drinkability: This beer is closer to scotchs, port wines and liquors rather than other beers. It was good to review it, but I won't drink it on a regular basis. I will rather drink a beer more usual to the standards.

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Photo of surfmeister
1/5  rDev -74.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

C'mon guys, be real...
This beer is not good, in fact I do not believe that anyone truly enjoys this beer, but many feel that they are supposed to.
Looks like a glass of bourbon with about the same amount of head, smell and taste profile are completely dominated by alcohol, slides around the mouth like a swig of 10/50 W motor oil, two gulps later this was down the drain, thank god they only bottle it occassionally, why waste your time with this stuff when you can have a nice single malt scotch?

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Photo of Frozensoul327
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A unique brew, and definitly not for me. Poured out with no head and very low carbonation. Colour of a darker scotch, amber red. Heavy odors of fruit and earth. Overly sticky sweet flavor, with notes of alcohol (14% ABV). This may be the most extraordinary beer in the world, but not the best in my mind. Label states it gets better with age. Hopefully it does. Mine was from Dec 2004 and consumed in March of 2005. I'm thinking it's probably not aged enough. Will re-review again with a longer aged sample.

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Samichlaus Classic Bier from Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg
89 out of 100 based on 1,078 ratings.
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